Lacuna is a creative projects consultancy led by Director Stella Ioannou, specialising in the development and production of cultural projects. Lacuna’s unique expertise includes artistic programming; curation; creative and strategic project management; fundraising; developing and maintaining stakeholder relationships and managing teams.
Lacuna’s strength lies in the ability to respond to a particular brief with a creative and ambitious programme, yet one that is achievable through strict project, budget and stakeholder management. Lacuna’s reputation in the creative community as well as with the City of London corporation and local businesses has been established over the past decade through the successful delivery of Sculpture in the City and other large scale projects. These projects have succeeded in shining a welcome and positive spotlight on public spaces through a series of interventions which have excited, surprised and attracted audiences from afar as well as engaging the local communities.
In 2017 Lacuna was selected for the London Borough of Culture expert panel, which provides specialist strategic advice to applicants. A long-standing relationship with the City’s arts community and experience delivering the first two editions of Sculpture in the City also informed Celebrate the City (2012), the Square Mile’s celebratory programme for the 2012 London Olympics for which Stella was Project Director. Lacuna’s portfolio includes other notable projects such as the London Festival of Architecture for which Stella was Founding Deputy Director (2003-07) and for the international events agency Profirst (2007-09). Some of the highlights at Profirst include managing the accounts of leading brands including Armani, Chanel, Credit Suisse and, notably, Swarovski for their 2008 Crystal Palace in Milan following Swarovski’s invitation to world leading designers to conceive an atmosphere experimenting with the unique medium of crystal. Through these high profile, complex projects, Stella specialised in what she calls the ‘art of the impossible’, where she honed her abilities in extreme budget and client management.
Meet the Lacuna Team
My background as a trained architect and dancer has informed my process and ability to develop ideas into reality. My expertise includes curation, artistic programming, creative and strategic project management, fundraising, developing and maintaining stakeholder relationships as well as managing teams. I am a member of the City Arts Initiative Advisory Board; a liveryman member of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects and a member of City Architecture Forum. My long-standing relationship with the City’s arts community has informed my roles as Co-Director of Sculpture in the City, Project Director of Celebrate the City and Deputy Director of the London Festival of Architecture. These roles, along with Client Director at international events agency Profirst, have taught me extreme budget and client management skills and the ‘art of the impossible’.
For Stella the word ‘impossible‘ simply doesn’t exist. Whatever she is trying to achieve she always succeeds due to her charm, tenacity, power to persuade and unfailing good humour. This makes her not only a great pleasure to work with but also engenders the greatest assurance that all will be well – and the end result will be the best. Which it invariably is.
Sarah Gaventa, The Illuminated River Foundation
Sarah studied Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmith’s College and begun her career as PA to the Programme Directors at Camberwell College of Art. Bitten by the learning bug, Sarah trained as a teacher of Art and Photography in 2008 and has since been teaching, with a special focus on learning beyond the classroom. Sarah has always been interested in how Art can engage the community outside the usual setting of the gallery and she found Lacuna through her interest in Sculpture in the City. Now, she assists with the smooth running of Lacuna’s busy diaries and projects.
Maria completed her post-graduate degree in History of Art at the Courtauld in 2008. She has a wealth of experience as an independent arts professional consulting with galleries, art dealers, arts organisations, artists and collectors. Maria has worked with a number of international galleries as a sales and marketing representative at art fairs worldwide. Her skill is in establishing partnerships, developing business and building art collections. All of Maria’s work is reliant on top networking skills to create and keep contacts across the art world. Much of this she does online, but also face to face, as nothing beats a good conversation over a cup of coffee.
How We Work
In my experience, there is no right or wrong way in how projects come together, and no ‘method’ that guarantees a result. The one thing I have learnt over the years is that people and the relationships built with them are the beginning of what may be possible. Consultation and relationship building are at the core of how I work and it is this process that both informs and allows a project to develop organically. I strongly believe that creative projects have their own energy and that you need to feed and challenge them to allow them to grow.
Securing the financial means to deliver what you set out to do is an essential part of any project but just as important is to consider the context of the project and making it sustainable. I often describe this type of project management as a big melting pot where I ensure we have the right mix of ingredients and I am the chef who keeps stirring the pot…
Over the years I have had the privilege of working on a wide range of ambitious projects and I have built a solid expertise which ensures that not much fazes me; there is always a solution!
I often say it’s the constraints that define the project just as much as our ambition to push the boundaries. All the practical things, like the weight and durability of the work, become very much part of the process. How the context changes with the seasons is an interesting one, too – everything looks so different in the snow, or with a backdrop of trees shedding their leaves.
Stella Ioannou, Director Lacuna
Sculpture in the City is a critically acclaimed and Civic Trust Award winning project which delivers an annual urban sculpture park in the insurance district of the Square Mile. Lacuna was first commissioned by the City of London Planning department in November 2010, following consultation with local businesses in the Eastern City Cluster keen to see contemporary sculpture brought into the area to humanize and enliven this area of high architectural quality. Since the project’s inception nearly 70 internationally recognized and critically acclaimed artists have been shown as part of the programme which enlivens the area and engages city workers, residents and visitors alike.
The 2017 edition of Sculpture in the City showcases 16 artists in 18 locations ranging considerably in scale. Mhairi Vari's delicate wire and tape 'cocoons' appear in three locations and are the first Sculpture in the City installations on the iconic Lloyd's building. In contrast, Damien Hirst's monumental statue 'Temple' stands at almost 20 feet tall. The project is available 24/7 and encourages wellbeing through a better outdoor environment, and by humanizing the public spaces also discourages anti-social behaviour. The educational element of the programme allows for volunteering opportunities for the partner companies and ensures there is engagement with the local community. The tour programme engages with the local workforce and the community events engage with residents and visitors alike.
The project aims to inspire City workers as they navigate the stresses of life in the capital, and give artists the opportunity to showcase their work in a public, urban environment. The City of London also uses the outdoor exhibition as an opportunity to invite local schools into the Square Mile for workshops and tours
City AM, 2017
Celebrate the City (2012) was the Square Mile's celebratory programme for the 2012 London Olympics. It was a large-scale public event held between 21st and 24th June, highlighting the City of London ‘s cultural assets with an additional series of public events to encourage visitors to the Square Mile.
Stella is an inspiring leader and an energetic organiser of great vision and great persistence. From her background in organising architectural, artistic and educational events she was chosen to direct the City of London's special Olympic year project Celebrate the City. She did so with immense flair and success. It was a demanding task to bring together, in a short space of time, so many interest groups and diverse bodies, and to lead them towards a common idea of what a celebratory event for the widest possible audience could be. She achieved this with great diplomatic skill and persuasion, and the result was a unique contribution to the City of London's profile in 2012 which expanded the range of the City's cultural offerings and attracted audiences from beyond the Square Mile, opening its riches to all.
Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican Centre
The very first London Festival of Architecture was the Clerkenwell Architecture Biennale which took place in 2004 and lasted ten days. Its central focus was illustrating how the past determines the future and was based in the Clerkenwell area highlighting the concentration of architecture practices in the area. It included lectures and talks from Zaha Hadid, Peter Ackroyd and Deyan Sudjic, seminars touching on topics that are still relevant such as ‘Gentrification vs Regeneration’ and ‘Who Makes London?’ But the highlight of the festival was most definitely the cattle drive down St Johns Street to Smithfield Market, which brought thousands of Londoners, young and old, out of their homes and into the city.
Stella brings to her variety of roles a wide knowledge of the cultural environment as well as brilliant organisational skills and an unrivalled ability to cajole, command and flatter in order to achieve successful outcomes.
Peter Murray, Founding Director London Festival of Architecture
Sculpture in the City 2017
The London Story - Sculpture in the City
Sculpture in the City 2016
Sculpture in the City 2017seventh edition. See this year's contemporary art installations in 18 locations, surrounded by iconic architecture of the City of London's insurance district
The London Story - Sculpture in the CityLondon is a city brought to life by its people and the unique and fascinating stories they have to tell. Stella on Sculpture in the City as part of the VisitLondon.com campaign
Sculpture in the City 2016